Myths about Montessori

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Myths about Montessori


Montessori teachers act as guides to a child’s independence. The teacher presents a material and the child is free to explore it and learn through self-correcting materials. The teacher’s observation of the child helps to plan for future lessons.
Maria Montessori believed that play is the work of the child. Through curiosity, the child is able to explore their environment and work with desired materials at their own pace.
Montessori classrooms can seem chaotic because of the many activities that may be happening simultaneously. However, the work of each independent child differs from his/her peers.
Montessori is not new to the educational world and has been around for many decades now. The educational philosophy of Maria Montessori was first introduced in the United States in the 1960s and has been spreading ever since.
Montessori children are able to more easily adapt to change. The grace and courtesy lessons that they are taught in Montessori helps them to easily adjust to meeting new people. Although some have questioned the academic rigor, Montessori children have proven to out-test children in traditional schools.
Although Maria Montessori began her practice working with preschoolers, the Montessori classroom has expanded to reach Montessori students of all ages including the high school years.
Montessori curriculum is presented in a cross-curricular approach so children are often learning more than one content area at a time on a deeper level. Research projects allow for further exploration of a topic and allows the child to follow their interests as well.
The respect the teacher shows each child is a model for children to respect each other. Young children interact with each other and with the adults, as they gradually become more giving and more sensitive to others. The two to three-year age span within each class causes the learning of younger children from older ones, which occurs naturally. Montessori respects the child and their need for privacy on occasions. Older children often tutor and assist the younger children and children may work together or by themselves as they choose.

Montessori children are organized into classes with children of 2 to 3 years’ difference in age. Many parents worry that older children will intimidate, or pick on, younger ones. However, the social community of mixed-age children gives experienced students an opportunity to serve as role models and help others. This promotes self-worth. At each level the children are expected to carry through with age-appropriate responsibilities which include caring for personal possessions, the classroom and the total community.

With the range of ages in the classes, competition is minimized as a motivator. The students comfortably share knowledge with each other in a respectful manner. They learn to work as a team and to value each member’s contribution in any situation. Having tools for solving conflicts builds tolerance for other points of view and prepares children to be compassionate adults.

Some believe that Montessori is chaotic and unstructured, while others believe it is too structured. They believe that children sit and work all day and aren’t allowed to move around.In a Montessori classroom, children actually have the freedom of walking around the classroom, completing work in the order that they choose. There are no time constraints in the classroom. What this actually means is that within a 3 hour work cycle, children can visit the sensory materials or the practical life and then move onto Math’s. Another great thing is that when they’re interacting with the materials, ‘work’ feels more like ‘play’ which engages them even more.
The environment is actually very carefully prepared and rich with developmentally appropriate learning materials that pique their curiosity and interests, which leads the way they learn. They can explore their interests. If children are taught independence from an early age, which a large amount of emphasis is put on then they are much more likely to be motivated to learn. Teachers move about the classroom, guide and encourage children to challenge themselves in areas they are exploring as well as new areas. Teachers are trained observers and help children to grow intellectually as they master skills and content. In fact, in the lower grades, children learn to create their own work plans for the day which include the basic areas such as math’s, reading, cultural, science and more. This self-management lays a crucial foundation as they move into higher grades.

This myth is often talked about and is definitely not the case. In fact, Montessori children often advance well beyond levels achieved in traditional schools. This has been proven by their results. There are often comments that Montessori children are very bright and beyond their years academically when they are put into traditional schools. This also is proven as they move into high school.

Montessori at first glance may give rise to all these myths, but in reality, it is an extremely enriching programme that develops the whole child and leads them onto great success. By placing your child in a Montessori environment, you will definitely be giving them a head-start in life and helping them to achieve great success.

Montessori schools are focused on helping children become self-directed individuals, who can, and do, make a difference in their families, in their communities and in their world – famous or not. And that’s not a myth.